Why Windows XP is still relevant

After watching Valve’s video on porting games to openGL:
Strangely to me, their main reason for them to concentrate on openGL (rather then DirectX) is not so much the mobile platform but the desktop landscape.

I find Valve very forward thinking.
They can see other platforms emerging and converging (Android is a real threat to PC desktop).
To remain relevant, Valve is focusing on anything PC, this includes helping develop the Oculus Rift - Virtual Reality Headset, expanding their Steam ecosystem services (very much like to google play store) and supporting Linux and even Windows XP.

DirectX is windows dependent.

Their research shows that the Chinese have modern hardware but are still running Windows XP- “Windows XP is extremely prevalent in China“.
Newer versions of DirectX drivers requires newer versions of Windows, ie Windows XP only supports DirectX 9 (no DX10/11).
OpenGL only requires newer hardware to support the newer features and it’s not tied to the OS like DirectX.

Why is Windows XP still relevant to me

I personally use Mint Linux on both laptop and desktop.
But I still need access to Windows for Visual Studio and Shade 3D (3D modeling tool)

Windows XP has great performance on new hardware

It’s memory usage is under 128MB (100MB on boot up).

Windows XP is great for Visualization

I could use wine for windows programs but it’s ‘hit and miss’ with some programs.
Windows XP Pro SP3 has an installed size of only 2GB!
So, I prefer having a small Windows XP virtual machine (8GB/2GB RAM), using virtual box.

Windows XP has limited support

Finding current drivers for windows XP for new motherboard, video card, etc can be difficult.
Most laptop/desktop manufactures don’t expect their users to be downgrading.

Also building software with windows XP support is now becoming a ‘Black Art’ using Microsoft’s Visual Studio.
The newer versions require a plug in and with a different compiler target!

Developing on Windows XP

Windows XP only supports Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2010, anything newer wont install.
That’s why I’m looking at using Code::Blocks IDE with MinGW compiler and CMake.

Code::Blocks, is very impressive because it can open all visual studio projects files and compile/debug just like in visual studio.
No need to worry about make files etc.

MinGW, is a windows 32/64Bit port of the GCC compiler and tool chain, including make, linker, gdb, etc.

CMake, is a multiple target setup file. It can create a Visual Studio projects or a make file depending on your platform.

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